You Don’t Have to Be a Rock

by Rachael on March 13, 2012

Welcome to the March 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting with Special Needs

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month participants shared how they parent despite and because of challenges thrown their way. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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At one point during my pregnancy, a perinatologist told my midwife that the Gnome was going to lose a kidney. I knew better than to take his word for it; after all, I had just met with some of the best doctors in the city (which this guy was not), and none of them had said anything of the sort. Nevertheless, I was devastated — for days. I e-mailed a friend whose twins were born very early. How did you remain steady? I asked.

Among the many points my friend made was that sometimes, you just have to cry your eyes out.

And so cry my eyes out I did, many times. In fact, I started my maternity leave somewhat earlier than I had planned not so much because I was running around Brooklyn to see various doctors, my midwives, and so on, but because I needed the time to cry.

Not crying doesn’t mean you’re strong. And crying certainly doesn’t mean you’re not strong. You don’t have to be a rock to be steady. After all, my image of steadiness is that of a tree — which does not break because it bends with the wind. So I cried, I dried my tears, and I got back to work: that was how I remained steady through the last weeks of a complicated pregnancy.

No tears for now

Things are much better now that the Gnome is really here. For one thing, everything is simpler. No more perinatologists, second opinions, or decisions to make about the pregnancy. We consult with the one pediatric urologist, and that’s it.

For another thing, the Gnome is really here, in my arms, suckling, growing bigger every day. I imagine there will be more tears — how could there not be more tears? — but right now, thank goodness, I don’t really need them.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy @ Anktangle March 13, 2012 at 10:50 AM

How freeing it can be to cry! I also reject the idea that holding in our feelings is a sign of strength and steadfastness. Being able to be vulnerable, to feel the things that are happening in the moment: this is strength and authenticity. Thank you for sharing your story!

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Dionna @ Code Name: Mama March 13, 2012 at 11:07 AM

Growing up with a stoic father, I have to remind myself sometimes that crying is a perfectly acceptable outlet.
I’m so glad that your birth was healthy and free of complications – wishing you a lifetime of the same :)

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Lauren @ Hobo Mama March 13, 2012 at 6:30 PM

This was so moving. It’s very true — I think as parents we’re conditioned to believe that this means always being strong in front of and for our kids. Sometimes it means acknowledging how weak we feel. It makes sense to be frightened and upset by such a tough diagnosis. I love your tree metaphor, and I’m so glad you’re enjoying the Gnome.

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Jennifer@ Our Muddy Boots March 13, 2012 at 6:36 PM

I recently had a particularly strong reason to cry hard and often. For the first few days I tried to hide it from my children. Then it became impossible.

What a blessing!

I think my children learned a lot about empathy and compassion over those days. They (2.5 and 4.5) checked in with me often, asking if I was okay or needed anything.

They were not scared of the tears, not at all. And though I still kinda wish I did not have to cry so much in front of them, their love made me smile through the tears.

Thanks so much for sharing your story. I don’t think I would have thought of things in these terms if you hadn’t.

Congratulations too!

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Hannah March 13, 2012 at 10:48 PM

I think letting yourself cry because what is happening is not as you imagined it to be happening is incredibly freeing. I hope that I will be able to show emotion and share my feelings with Hannabert as he grows.

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Julie Keon March 14, 2012 at 9:37 AM

What a good post. A gentle reminder to all of us that we are designed to have a good bawl once in a while. It is almost like a regulator of our hormones and chemistry. Can do wonders when the stress gets too great.

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Amber March 14, 2012 at 2:40 PM

Sometimes you really do just have to cry – this is what I learned by having a preemie.

There’s another truth, though. Sometimes you have to forget all the crap and just be with your baby in that moment. That’s just as important. So yes, thank goodness you don’t really need your tears now.

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